Monday, January 23, 2017

Karen Van Den Heuvel Debut Thriller Heats Up with Drama and Danger

I'm pleased to introduce debut thriller author and friend Karen Van Den Heuvel. Karen's diverse experiences as an attorney, certified civil mediator, Registered Dietitian, teacher, speaker, and published author with more than 20 years experience in the corporate, government, and private sectors have fueled her desire to assist people live fuller, richer lives. She desires to help people add spice to their lives whether it is through her romantic suspense novels or through her nutrition and health blog. With two grown children, one in medical school, and the other in graduate school, Karen lives with her husband, Joe Fischer, in Colorado. Her debut romantic suspense novel, Hidden Bloodlines, was released in July. It is the first in The J.C. Classified Series. 

1. What is the genre of your book? How did you choose the genre?
My book is a romantic suspense thriller.  I believe most writers choose the genre they enjoy reading. I love suspense, thrillers, and mysteries with a bit of romance. Although not heavy on the romance, it was enough for a traditional publisher who only publishes romance to want it.

2. How is your protagonist the same/different from you?
It’s best to write what you know, and as an attorney, I chose to make my protagonist a lawyer. The difference is with the areas we practice. My protagonist is a criminal lawyer while I am a civil lawyer who teaches Business Law at the university. Personality wise, my protagonist is inspired by my daughter, Victoria.

3. What/who inspires you when you feel writer’s block coming on?
When I feel writer’s block coming on, I pray, walk, and change the physical location of where I write. I like to go where there is no cell phone or internet reception in a natural setting that reminds me of the power of God. Prior to the 2013 flood, I regularly wrote in Viestenz-Smith Mountain Park next to the rushing river. Since the flood, I’ve tried new places but always seek God’s place.

4. What advice would you like to give aspiring writers?
Learn from those who went before you and develop your craft. Write, revise, and keep revising until it’s the best you can do. Then follow your dreams and never give up.

5. Did you have to do much research on the background of your story?
I believe that research is critical to make any book believable and the research I did was quite extensive. From the history behind the Dark Sacrament and real cases of exorcisms to the location, inspired by the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, its legendary ghost stories as well as the Ute Indians and their vision quests, research was the foundation on which my story was created.


Gutsy Colorado attorney Victoria Bailey has just successfully prosecuted a serial killer…or has she? Betrayed by her college sweetheart, she’s vowed to remain single and dependent on no one but herself. All goes according to plan until her best friend’s wedding rehearsal. A missing groom, a murdered trial assistant, and an unexpected encounter with two men from her past bring her well-controlled life crashing down.

Highly decorated, retired Navy SEAL Christian Van der Kruis has seen much death and is ready to experience a new life. Now part of a global special ops organization, he attends a wedding, never expecting to be brought face-to-face with death and the only woman he ever loved … Victoria.

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Friday, December 23, 2016

Pamela Trawick's Debut Novel An Inspirational Story

     From time to time, a book comes along that has the ability to touch our hearts and warm our spirits. I’m extremely pleased and excited to tell you about debut novel Walking Between The Stones by good friend and award winning author Pamela Trawick. A woman of rare wit and talent, Pamela Trawick’s style is compelling and has won the endorsement of many colleagues.
     Lisa Wingate, bestselling author of The Prayer Box has said of Pamela’s work, “In parts, tender sweet and funny, Walking Between The Stones offers up a cast of characters you’ll enjoy getting to know and a heartfelt examination of the power of love and the meaning of family.”
     USA Today bestselling author, Susan May Warren has said, “A beautifully written poignant story about marriage, tragedy, what happens when your worst fears take over…and the power of true love. A wonderful debut by a talented author!
     Jane Choate, author of The Little Witness says, “Pamela Trawick’s debut novel Walking Between the Stones is a winner in every way. Beautifully drawn characters fill a poignant story of forgiveness, healing, and most of all, love. Trawick reminds us that love is to be cherished and that it can indeed conquer all when we invite the Lord into our lives. 5 Stars!

Pamela has agreed to answer five questions about her own life and novel.

1.   What is the genre of your book? How did you choose the genre?
Walking Between the Stones is women’s fiction.  I’m not sure that I chose the genre or that it chose me, but after I watched my neighbors dealing with their own and their loved ones’ dementia, I knew this was a story I had to write.

2.  How is your protagonist the same/different from you?
While Willie Joe and Dory-Ann aren’t like me in terms of their appearance or their personalities, I share one characteristic with them: I talk to my dog.  Like Miss Pixie and Tick, Daisy is an important part of my family.

3.   Tell us something about yourself that we might not expect?
My first ever plane flight was from Arkansas to Germany.  And, no, it wasn’t on a vacation.  I moved to Germany for a job.  How’s that for an adventure?  The experience became the foundation for my first published devotion, “Beauty’s All Around,” which was part of Big Dreams from Small Spaces. 

4.  What secret about the book will enhance our knowledge about you or the book?
Many times when an author begins a book, she has a message she wants to share with readers. When I began Walking Between the Stones three years ago, I never thought that the message would be for me. I began the story by challenging Willie Joe with a fear of Alzheimer’s, but before the book was published, I was dealing with my own cognitive problems. Now when I reread the book, particularly the opening scenes, I see myself doing many of the things Willie Joe does.

5.  Did you have to do much research on the background of your story?
Oh, yes.  While the basic concept came from observing my neighbors, I needed to learn everything I could about dementia, its causes, its symptoms, and its possible cures.  I was very fortunate to have a writing friend who’s also a doctor.  Many thanks go to Dr. Marsha Henke for sharing her medical knowledge with me.

Pamela Trawick draws on her years as an attorney, specializing in family law and estate planning and her parents’ experience battling cancer and ALS, to craft a story of a couple traversing the rocky terrain of emotions and challenges tied to aging. Her books have been finalists in numerous contests, and Walking Between the Stones won the 2014 Oregon Christian Writers Cascade Contest for best contemporary novel. Pamela lives in San Jose, California, with her husband and their only slightly spoiled Westie.

They had the perfect marriage.  At least she thought they did…
The day before their fortieth anniversary celebration in their small Arkansas hometown, Willie Joe Lankton tells Dory-Ann he must leave. Embarrassed by his disappearance, she makes excuses to her friends and family about her husband’s location. Heartbroken and frightened, she tries to track him down, but Willie Joe doesn’t answer or return her calls.

Willie Joe Lankton, has a lifetime of experience repairing vehicles, however, he may have made a mistake when a young man is killed in an accident while driving a truck he just repaired. Suffering from memory lapses he believes are signs of Alzheimer’s, Willie Joe flees to the western states so as not to burden Dory-Ann. A troubled journey, pride, and fear keep them apart until God's plans are revealed.

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Tuesday, January 19, 2016

What are You Willing to Do to Gain the World?

For the average person, the political season brings up a whole host of emotions, mostly negative. We view politics as a necessary evil imposed on our lives for a time, and then wave a sigh of relief when it’s over. This sentiment is understood. But what do we do with it?

Most of us despise the rhetoric, the slanderous accusations and the all-pervasive malicious mentality of even some of our closest friends and family. Friendships are won and lost by which side of the aisle we sit on. For this reason, we steer away from conversations that might require us to state our convictions. Be the peacemaker, don’t rock the boat, right? After all, in a little while, all this negativism will go away, and it will be back to business as usual without anyone finding out what is really on our minds and hearts. Phew—saved by our silence! 

Or are we? When all is said and done, do we really gain anything, cowing to political correctness, by denying and burying what and who we are? 

In Mark 8:36, Jesus speaks to the crowd. “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?” Later in the passage, Jesus has some strong words for Christian men and women who live in silence before the world. 

In her conference on being Set Apart, respected Christian speaker and Life Coach, Kathy Cordell, talks about living our lives in the tension of grace and truth in a culture that can often be hostile to Christians. But how do we live in that tension of grace and truth during a season when we are pulled apart, sometimes by polar opposite beliefs?

Perhaps the answer lies in understanding that what we believe about our world is not a political issue but a moral one. Jesus did not come to take political sides. He made that very clear. He came, because God so loved the world. The Jewish people of his day saw him as a political figure to save them from Rome, but Jesus said he came to save their souls. Because he would not accept the role they tried to force on him, one by one the people abandoned him to die on a cross.  

In another way, we recognize that we have a lot in common with our non-believing friends. The Bible is very clear on this, too. We have all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). There is none righteous (Isaiah 64:6).  In that we would judge our neighbors, we also condemn ourselves. All are guilty of sin. Therefore Jesus is not my political guru, he is the Savior of my soul. He came to die and rise again on the cross to save me from sin’s curse on my soul.

We also understand that we do not live in a perfect world, but we do live in a democracy where there are many competing perspectives about how to resolve complicated issues. Not everyone will agree with our point of view. But do not "repay evil for evil, but always seek after that which is good for one another and for all people (1 Thes. 5:15). 

Still, if we truly believe Jesus is the Savior of our souls, then what we believe about God’s saving grace in our lives should affect our conscience, and if our conscience, then also our convictions, and if our convictions, then also our political views. To say nothing is complicit with a belief system that does not share what we believe about the world and should convict us of being duplicitous about what we believe and who we are. 

How then do Christians live in the tension of grace and truth during the political season? We recognize that God’s love covers a multitude of sins—all our sins. It’s not our place to be arrogant or boastful. We grapple with complicated issues in a reasoned manner, respecting our fellow citizens and also recognizing some things are beyond our scope to resolve easily. Yet we cannot stay silent on those things in which we have been convicted or we may find that we have exchanged the world for our souls. It's not just a political issue, it's an eternal one. 

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

An Interview with Love Inspired Author Jane Choate

Today I'm happy to introduce you to my writing colleague and friend Jane M. Choate. Jane is a prolific writer, including short stories, children's stories, a contributing author to a number of magazines and her series of Christian romantic suspense books written for Love Inspired Suspense. 

Jane dreamed of writing from the time she was a small child when she entertained friends with outlandish stories, complete with happy endings. Writing for Love Inspired Suspense is a dream come true. Jane is the proud mother of five children, seven grandchildren, and the staff to one cat who believes she is of royal descent.

Today, Jane talks about her newest book in her Love Inspired Suspense series, The Littlest Witness, released January 1, 2016.

1. What is the genre of your book? How did you choose the genre? My genre is Christian romantic suspense.  I don’t know if I chose it or if it chose me.  It seemed to “fit.”

2. How is your protagonist the same/different from you? My heroine is devoted to her brother. In that respect, she is the same as me as I am devoted to my family. She is far different from me, though, in that she is a former Secret Service agent, can strip down a weapon in under a minute, and knows several different ways to disable (or kill) an opponent!  

3. Tell us something about yourself that we might not expect? The biggie here, of course, is that I’ve had a TRO (Temporary Restraining Order) taken out against me.  (In my defense, this was entirely justified!)  For a mild-mannered Mormon mother/grandmother, this may be unexpected. Other things: I love action adventure movies and told my family that I want the theme from DELTA FORCE played at my funeral.

4. What secret about the book will enhance our knowledge about you or the book? The book deals with, among other things, betrayal. Loyalty is a large part of my makeup, so using betrayal as part of the book caused me to tap into my deepest feelings.

5. What made you want to be a writer in the first place? I have always loved telling stories. I used to make up stories for friends when I was in school. Writing is a natural extension of that.


When Delta Force soldier Caleb Judd’s brother and sister-in-law are murdered, the killers turn their attention to his orphaned nephew. Caleb’s new mission: protect little Tommy—who hasn’t said a word since witnessing his parents’ deaths—and figure out who’s targeting his family. He needs help, and security expert Shelley Rabb is perfect for the job. But Caleb’s used to calling the shots, not taking orders, even when they come from a beautiful former Secret Service Agent.


Jane M. Choate's books can be found on and wherever Love Inspired books are sold. 

Monday, November 30, 2015

An Interview with Bestselling Romance Author Amanda Cabot

I am extremely happy to introduce you to fellow writer, friend, mentor, and coordinator for the Front Range Christian Fiction Writers, Amanda Cabot. Amanda is the bestselling author of more than thirty novels including the Texas Dreams trilogy, the Westward Winds series, and Christmas Roses. A former director of Information Technology, she has written everything from technical books and articles for IT professionals to mysteries for teenagers and romances for all ages. Amanda is delighted to now be a full-time writer of Christian romances, living happily ever after with her husband in Wyoming.  

Interview Questions
Today, Amanda talks about her newly release Christmas Romance Novella, The Christmas Star Bride.

1. What inspired you to write “The Christmas Star Bride?" Are there sequels planned?
When my agent sent me a call-out for Barbour’s 12 Brides of Christmas, I knew I wanted to be part of this collection.  The reason?  Christmas novellas are fun to write.  But, as much as I wanted to be part of the collection, I also wanted my story to be different from the other proposals the editor was likely to receive.  Most romance heroines, particularly in historical novellas like these, are fairly young.  I wanted to show that love is not limited to the very young, so I created a story with an older hero and heroine, both of whom have been wounded (in Jeremy’s case, literally) in the past.
As for sequels, not only is one planned, it’s already available.  The 12 Brides of Christmas was such a success that Barbour asked for The 12 Brides of Summer.  My story, “The Fourth of July Bride,” was released in e-book format this July.  Like the Christmas stories, these novellas are digital-first releases with the full collection appearing in print a year later.

2. Did you have to do much research on the background of your story?
Oh, yes.  I spent months and months researching Cheyenne in the mid-1880s.  The good news is that I’d already done the work when I wrote Waiting for Spring and With Autumn’s Return, so I could reuse the research for both this story and the summer bride one.  

3. Tell us something about yourself that we might not expect?
I once worked as an editor for a technical publication.  It was an eye-opening experience, to say the least.

4. What made you want to be a writer in the first place?
Books – in particular, fiction – have always been a very important part of my life, transporting me to different times and places.  And so the next logical step – at least in my seven-year-old mind – was to become a writer.  I won’t tell you it’s always been easy, but I will say that it’s always been rewarding.

5. What advice would you like to give aspiring writers?
The single most important piece of advice I have for aspiring writers is to never give up. Rejection is a fact of life, but you can’t let it defeat you.

The 12 Brides of Christmas Collection
Christmas is the time for love -- and weddings -- and twelve women are on their way to the altar, whether they know it or not. In nineteenth-century settings across the heartland of America, readers will experience heartfelt gifts, old-fashioned Christmas traditions, sweet romance, and inspiring faith from twelve acclaimed Christian authors. 
My story, “The Christmas Star Bride”

Because love isn’t limited to the very young. 

Esther Hathaway lost her one true love at Gettysburg twenty years ago, but that doesn’t stop her from celebrating her niece’s wedding by commissioning Jeremy Snyder to paint her portrait. Will Esther's prayers for God to ease her loneliness be answered by a wounded vet?

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Thursday, November 5, 2015

An Interview with Contemporary Inspirational Romance Writer Candee Fick

Today's spotlight is on my friend and writing colleague Candee Fick. Candee is the wife of a high school football coach and the mother of three children, including a daughter with a rare genetic syndrome. When not busy with her day job or writing, she can be forund cheering on the home team at football, basketball, baseball, and Special Olympics games. In what little free time remains, she enjoys exploring the great Colorado outdoors, indulging in dark chocolate, and savoring happily-ever-after endings through a good book.

Interview Questions

    1. What is the genre of Catch of a Lifetime? Why did you       choose this genre?
Catch of a Lifetime is a contemporary inspirational romance. I choose to write romance, because it's what I love to read, and it's a reflection of God's relentless pursuit of a relationship with mankind. That's also why I write for the inspirational or Christian market, because my faith is such an integral part of my life that I can't imagine trying to write a story without that worldview. And I admit that I write about contemporary settings and interactions to avoid the extra research involved to get the historical time period details correct.

2. How is your protagonist the same/different from you?
I grew up playing football at recess with the boys, married a coach, and our oldest son plays receiver and linebacker for his high school's team. And that's very different from Cassie, who hates football, especially football players! Howver, a part of me always wanted to be a flexible, tumbling gymnast (especially when watchin gthe Olympics), so I was able to put that desired skill into Cassie's background. On the other hand, Cassie and I are both smart enought with a love of biology and science to be tutors. In fact, I used to teach high school chemistry before I got married and started a family. 

3. What secret about the book will enhance our knowledge about you or the book?
Fun fact: During the editing process, my editor asked me to actually name two background characters instead of just referring to them in general terms. Their names would never show up again in the story, but I saw her point about making the current scene clear. On a whim, I pulled a first name and a last name from two of my son’s teammates to create one character. The other character—Luke Daniels—is a variation on my son’s first and middle name. As I’ve been watching my senior son play his final season of football, it’s been sweet to know that his football identity will live on in fiction even as he puts away the cleats and moves on to basketball.

      4. What made you want to be a writer in the first place?
I love stories and haven’t been far from a book since age four when my mother taught me to read. The best books were the ones that lingered in my imagination to the point where I invented new scenes and adventures for the characters, just because I couldn’t bear to say goodbye yet. However, the more I read, the more I came across books that didn’t quite satisfy or seemed flat or dry or (gasp) boring. Whenever I read a book like that, my imagination would kick in to try to fix the story with a better ending or something. Then came the day when I woke up, having dreamed a scene so real I didn’t want it to end. I scribbled down everything I could remember and decided that I would someday write books of my own. My hope is that readers want to linger with my characters.

5. What advice would you like to give aspiring writers?
Read a lot. You absorb what works or doesn’t work in stories by seeing how other writers have built story worlds. Write a lot. Just like other muscles, it gets easier the more you exercise it.  Keep learning. Focus on one skill, dig deep until you understand it, apply it to your own writing, and then find something else to work on. Mostly, be patient. It takes time to develop a strong foundation of skill, professionalism, thick skin, stack of possible manuscripts, network of friends, and social media platform. Then, when the door of opportunity opens, you’ll be ready to walk through it.


He breathes football. She shudders at the very mention of the sport. After a tragedy involving a football player destroyed her family, athletic trainer and graduate student Cassie moves across the country looking for a fresh start, but a change in financial aid lands her in the middle of her worst nightmare. Meanwhile, rookie coach Reed worries his dream career will slip away as injuries plague his players and his star receiver teeters on the brink of ineligibility. As the two work together to salvage the season, sparks fly, and Reed must eventually choose between the game he cherishes and the woman he loves.

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Thursday, October 8, 2015

An Interview with mystery writer Marilyn Leach

As part of my author spotlight, today, it's my pleasure to introduce you to my friend and fellow writer, Marilyn Leach. At the age of nine, Marilyn wrote her first play with a childhood neighbor--a mystery called The Ghost and Mr. Giltwallet. Since that time, she has been writing in various formats for various audiences, as a hobby and as a livelihood. In addition to teaching art, she’s had the opportunity to co-author several plays that have been performed on both church and secular stages, as well as two screenplays. Marilyn has had the good fortune of “discovering her roots” while visiting England where she developed lasting relationships with wonderful people.  It has greatly impacted her writing. A fervent fan of Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple and David Cook’s Hetty Wainthropp series, Marilyn was inspired to write her Berdie Elliott Mystery series. The series takes place in a small English village where the vicar’s wife, Berdie Elliott, is the divine sleuth. Marilyn lives lakeside in a cottage on the outskirts of Denver near the foothills.

Interview Questions:
What is the genre of Into the Clouds? Why did you choose this genre? 
Into the Clouds is an English cozy mystery.  When I was nine years old, my neighbor and I wrote a play, The Ghost and Mr. Giltwallet.  It was a neighborhood hit when we presented it amid blankets pegged on wash lines to create a stage.  Trixie Belden mysteries were my favorite read as a child, and I never out grew the “guess who did it” instinct.  My mystery series is a good brain tickle with inspiration and high energy humor to move it along.

What inspired you to write Into the Clouds? Are there sequels planned?
I love reading and watching Agatha Christie’s Miss Marpel series, a fun model to write from.  Actually, Into the Clouds is the third mystery in the Berdie Elliott mysteries.  Because my sleuth is a vicar’s wife, the mysteries are tied to liturgical holidays.  Candle for a Corpse is an Advent mystery.  Up from the Grave is a Lenten mystery.  Into the Clouds is an Ascension mystery.  And my fourth book in the series, Enigma of Fire: A Pentecost Mystery is due out in 2016.

How is your protagonist the same/different from you?
Berdie Elliott is a hoot to write.  I love her optimism, practical thinking, and ability to puzzle out the truth amidst the rubble of lies.  She’s very high energy, I’m relaxed.  She speaks her mind, I’m often a bit more timid.  She’s fearless, I’m cautious.  But we both have personal faith at the core of our world view.

What/who inspires you when you feel writer’s block coming on?
I pour a cup of tea and pop a British mystery DVD into the player, then watch with a “how can I learn from this?” mentality.  It often does the trick.

What advice would you like to give aspiring writers?
Learn your craft.  So many people have fantastic ideas buzzing around in their heads.  But until you learn how to present them in a dynamic way, really study the masters, read “how to” books, and review your old high school English grammar book, it is not likely to reach readers in an effective way.  Give your story wings by grounding it in excellent practices.  And go for it!

Blurb: Into the Clouds

When the small English village of Aidan Kirkwood              
gathers for the great Ascension Sunday fete, it’s found that one hundred released balloons are not the only thing vanishing into thin air. A well-to-do widow has gone missing.  Enlisted by the family to  find the woman, Berdie Elliott, the local vicar’s wife and sleuth extraordinaire, flies into action. Adventure rises when zealous cat fanciers, a  clandestine informant, Portuguese intimations, and the home with an odd tree all lead Berdie to grasp the truth. Youwon’t want to let this whodunit out of your sight.

Enigma of Fire a Pentecost Mystery, Berdie Mystery #4  will release in 2016
Into the Clouds an Ascension Mystery, now available at
Candle for a Corpse an Advent Mystery  
Up From the Grave A Lenten Mystery 
Threads of Love: a romance